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(1785) Colloquial, origin unknown; said to have been thieves' slang for "lightning."



jiffy ‎(plural jiffies)

  1. (colloquial) A very short, unspecified length of time.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 7, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Old Applegate, in the stern, just set and looked at me, and Lord James, amidship, waved both arms and kept hollering for help. I took a couple of everlasting big strokes and managed to grab hold of the skiff's rail, close to the stern. Then, for a jiffy, I hung on and fought for breath.
    I'll be back in a jiffy.
  2. (computing) A unit of time defined by the frequency of its basic timer; historically, and by convention, 0.01 seconds, but some operating systems use other values.
  3. (electronics) The length of an alternating current power cycle (1/60 or 1/50 of a second)
  4. (physics) The time taken for light to travel one centimetre in a vacuum (sometimes one foot, or sometimes the width of a nucleon)



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